Den umulige hage: Rom og tid i hagemotivet i Livias villa


  • Hege Olaussen UiT The Arctic University of Norway



Livia, romersk villa, rom, freske, hagemotiv, propaganda


The article discusses representations of time and space in the frescoes in the garden room of Empress Livia's villa at Prima Porta, near Rome. The frescoes, dated to ca 30–20 B.C., decorates an underground chamber in a vast villa-complex and show an "impossible garden" in that its vegetation is simultaneously and continuously flowering, without any realistic connection to time. Through analysis of the vegetation's spatial organization, the representation of birds and the chamber's placement in the villa-complex, the article examines the significance of the garden, be it real or imaginary, as an arena for instilling and expressing Roman civic values and duties. It addresses the potential relevance of the villa's imperial connection and questions whether the frescoes are to be read as expressions of "art of the state" or "state of the art".

Author Biography

Hege Olaussen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

(f. 1961) er universitetslektor i kunstvitenskap ved Institutt for kultur og litteratur, UiT Norges arktiske universitet. Olaussen underviser i historisk og samtidig billedkunst, design,
kunsthåndverk og populærkultur. Hennes forskningsinteresser er romersk billedkunst samt det 20. århundrets design og trivialkultur.




How to Cite

Olaussen, Hege. 2015. “Den umulige hage: Rom og tid i hagemotivet i Livias villa”. Nordlit, no. 36 (December):275–292.